J.J. Abrams responded to critics of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” by saying that those who dislike his film are “right,” but then so are the people who loved the movie.
Abrams gave that diplomatic answer at a recent Academy screening of “The Rise of Skywalker” on Friday, acknowledging that it’s impossible to please everyone,
“I’d say that they’re right. The people who love it more than anything are also right,” Abrams said. “We knew going in — I was asked just seven hours ago, in other countries, ‘So how do you go about pleasing everyone?’ and I was like ‘What?’ Not to say that that should be what anyone tries to do anyway, but how would one even go about it? Especially with ‘Star Wars.”
Abrams said the impossibility to please everyone is especially true in a day and age in which outrage culture has become the norm in our politics and cultural discourse.
“We live in a moment where everything seems to immediately default to outrage, and there’s a kind of M.O. of it’s either exactly as I see it or you’re my enemy,” Abrams said. “But it’s a crazy thing that there is such a norm that seems to be devoid of nuance and compassion — this is not about ‘Star Wars,’ this is about everything — and acceptance. It’s a crazy moment, so we knew starting this, any decision we made — a design decision, a musical decision, a narrative decision — would please someone and infuriate someone else.”
For the record, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has been heavily criticized, and it’s also made a lot of money and is loved by a lot of people. On Tuesday morning, the hashtag #thankyoujjabrams was trending on Twitter, and the film has an 86% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes against just a 55% score from critics. That said, it received the worst CinemaScore for any movie in the franchise, just a B+ compared to every other film scoring at least an A or A-.
It also made over $175 million domestically in its first weekend ahead of the Christmas holiday, though so far it’s behind the totals made by Abrams’ “The Force Awakens” and Rian Johnson’s “The Last Jedi.” So we’ll see just how strong word of mouth continues for the big “Star Wars” finale.
Check out a video of Abrams’ comments below via Twitter user @ar1aster.